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|Conduct your own security audit.|
Before the Move
Many campuses abide by a Federal law (the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act) that requires the college to post statistics about crime on campus. You should be able to access such records, either during your initial visits or over the phone to the campus police department.
In many states, Megan's Law requires local law enforcement to make available information about known sex offenders in the neighborhood. If your teen will be living in off-campus housing, it makes sense to find know something about her neighbors.
If you help your teen move into his or her campus housing, use your on-site time to conduct your own security audit.
Check out the dormitory or apartment building. Are doors left propped open? What access controls are there at the front door--do visitors have to register?
Inspect physical security measures, like locks, lighting, and sightlines. If you see streetlamps that are out, or dimly lit walkways, contact the campus facilities department yourself. Inquire if locks are rekeyed each time there is a new resident. If not, you might want to have the work done yourself, for example in the case of off-campus apartments.
Meet the residence hall advisor/manager or the apartment's landlord. This person has a key to your kid's home--how do you feel about the person? Gavin de Becker, security expert and author of the books "The Gift of Fear" (compare prices) and "Protecting the Gift" (compare prices), says your intuition upon meeting someone says a lot about their potential for violence. Trust your gut.
Walk routes to and from your teen's housing to classrooms, the student union, and off-campus hangouts. Are there any seedy places/people your teen should watch out for? While your child might belittle your caution as parental-fueled paranoia, pointing out potential problems can only raise awareness.
Where will your teen park his or her car? Walk through the parking area/garage. Is it well-lit? Are there regular patrols by security or campus police?
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